Paper maps costing taxpayers big money in Mo. and Ill. - KMOV.com

Paper maps costing taxpayers big money in Mo. and Ill.

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Missouri maps seen at the Wright City rest area. (Credit: KMOV) Missouri maps seen at the Wright City rest area. (Credit: KMOV)
WRIGHT CITY (KMOV.com) -

Technology has changed the way most drivers navigate, but Missouri and Illinois continue to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to print paper maps. Most of the printing costs are reimbursed by federal taxpayers.

In both states, the paper maps are distributed at rest areas and Welcome Centers.

Missouri spends $165,000 each year and most recently printed 750,000 paper maps.

Illinois prints maps every other year and most recently paid $252,000 to print approximately 1.6 million paper maps.

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, approximately 60,000 maps are picked up across the state each month.

Machelle Watkins, MoDOT's transportation planning director, says demand for paper maps has decreased over the last few years, and it's an expense the department evaluates on an ongoing basis. She added the maps are still beneficial in areas of the state where cell service doesn't work and for tourists trying to determine nearby cities and attractions when they travel across the state. 

The Illinois Policy Institute tracks government spending, the organization's Vice President of Policy, Ted Dabrowski, questions the map spending. 

"I think these maps are exemplary of how government wastes money," Dabrowski said. "Sometimes small things, sometimes they are big things."

In Missouri, some of the maps are distributed at a rest area along Interstate 70 near Wright City. Drivers had mixed feelings about the benefits of taxpayer-funded paper maps. 

Rita Bidwell of Virginia doesn't believe the expense is necessary, and said, "we don't use them."  Bidwell added her in-laws still use the maps for navigation.

Michael Clements of St. Louis told News 4 he still keeps a paper map in his glove box and believes they are beneficial for drivers entering a new state.

"I'd say keep it," Clements said. "If they want to cut out $165,000 there's other places they could."

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